• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Larkin - Churchgoing and High Windows

Extracts from this document...


PHILIP LARKIN (1922-1985) BIOGRAPHY Philip Larkin was born in Coventry, England, in 1922. He was (and still is) one of the most well-known and widely read poets in England, yet his writing and personal politics are also quite controversial. He was a poet, novelist, and critic, a leading figure of 'The Movement,' term coined to describe a group of British poets that coalesced during the 1950s. 'The Movement' poets addressed everyday British life in a plain, straightforward language and often in traditional forms. He was educated at King Henry VIII School where he wrote for the school magazine. At the age of 18 he entered St. John's College Oxford, where he studied English and met Kingsley Amis. After graduating he became a librarian. Larkin wrote nearly continuously throughout his adult life, but he also made his living as a librarian for several university libraries. As a poet Larkin made his debut with the collection THE NORTH SHIP in 1945, written using short lines and carefully worked-out rhyme schemes. It was published at his own expense. The sad songs showed the influence of Yeats. It was followed by two novels, JILL (1946) and A GIRL IN WINTER (1947). ...read more.


As Larkin looks at the freedom given to the generation which has succeeded his own in the poem 'High Windows', he is confronted with an optimistic image of endlessness: "And immediately /Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:/ The sun-comprehending glass,/ And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows/ Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless." Larkin is praising the virtue of forever looking forward and upward: his conception of the future is one of hope embodied in the image of high windows, out of reach and incomprehensible for those living in the present, but the 'deep blue air' which characterises that hope will be the inheritance of a future generation. This is the view of life which preoccupies Larkin throughout "High Windows". He has left behind him the years of his youth, has reached 'that vague age that claims/The end of choice' and all that remains to him is movement towards death and the disappointment of looking back over his own life in comparison with the lives of the young generations who have succeeded to his world. CHURCHGOING In Philip Larkin's poem, "Churchgoing," Larkin depicts the confusion of an individual, the persona, who is compelled to enter the churches he sees on his bicycle rides. ...read more.


Instead of commenting on the beauty of the church, he looks at the roof asking himself if it is "cleaned, or restored"" It seems that the poet is disrespectful - donating an Irish sixpence and then further emphasizing, "reflect the place was not worth stopping for." The poet is for sure that churches will fall down except for some, which will be kept as a chronic symbol where women will bring their children to touch a particular stone believing that they will work as a spell. His opinion is that "superstition, like belief, must die." This supposes a strong blow against the church and towards believe. Philip Larkin asks himself who will be the last to see the church before it deteriorates completely "some ruin-bibber" some "Christmas-addict" someone obsessed with church or someone just like him who has no believe or sympathy with the church. For the poet, the church is the place of marriage, birth and death and believes that that causes people to become fanatic towards church because they see it as the place that marks the most important points of life. Larkin also sees the church trying to make people see natural things of life such as birth and having children as being in their destiny and that people will always look for the spiritual side. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philip Larkin section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philip Larkin essays

  1. 'Afternoons' by Philip Larkin.

    In fact this very point that i am discussing is made explicitly in the last two lines of the final stanza.

  2. How typical in terms of subject, theme, structure and versification is 'Faith Healing' by ...

    This is very effective. In Faith Healing, the first stanza ends, 'Their heads are clasped abruptly; then, exiled'. This is an important use of enjambment because with no full stop, we read straight on into the next verse, and this fits perfectly with the poem and story.

  1. Philip Larkin's Church Going.

    searching for a deeper meaning that he is convinced can be found in the church, and religion. Not only did he stop at this church, he often finds himself wondering about other churches as well. Admitting his frustration at his inability to understand religion, he explains that although he was

  2. Larkin "The Building".

    The "common thing" they share (approaching death) makes them all go silent. There are numerous rooms, some further away than the others and those furthest are closest to death "and harder to return from". What follows is a moment of looking back at life, symbolised by the patients looking down

  1. "The Past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Referring to L. ...

    Yet whether love survives or not it lives on in Arundel where "only an attitude remains". This is also true of Larkin's poetry, and in fact to the whole genre. Whereas fictional characters and places from novels are lost, forgotten, poetry allows thoughts to survive as art long after the death of the artist.

  2. Here is unfenced existence, from Here by Phip Larkin. Both he and Dannie Abse ...

    This imperfection is his journey perhaps represents his attitudes towards England as a place; it has beauty but is often tarnished.

  1. How typical is the style and content of The Old Fools in Larkin's High ...

    Similarly to the eponymous High Windows, with their "sun-comprehending glass", this image is uplifting and calm, but also carries with it the connotations of the poems' links to ageing and dying that are, apparently, inescapable. The regular rhyme in The Old Fools is almost a trademark for Larkin - his

  2. To what extent, in terms of subject matter and style, do you consider 'High ...

    The Explosion includes italicised lines being spoken by a priest - 'The dead go on before us...' - and Vers de Societe includes such lines as 'All solitude is selfish' and 'Virtue is social', which seem to be an outside voice reproaching the speaker for his behaviour.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work